Poop and Harlem’s Hidden COVID Numbers

In September 2020, New York began to sample and test wastewater at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wastewater plants for COVID-19.

If you recall an earlier post on wastewater and New York – https://hnba.nyc/where-does-my-sewage-go/ – you may remember that virtually all of Harlem’s wastewater (basically anything that goes down your drain or toilet) ends up at Wards’ Island’s DEP complex. New York Open Data has made the wastewater sampling data available, so I decided to plot COVID-19 as detected in our (Harlem’s) poop.

September 2020 December 2020 December 2021 April 2022

As you likely know, wastewater sampling can only give a community average of sorts, but what it does (that swab sampling of individual New Yorkers can’t do) is integrates information on the people who never or rarely test.

The chart above is amazing and terrifying at the same time. The left-hand side is September 2020, and the right hand side is April 2022.

That crazy spike is from 12/27/2021 – after Thanksgiving 2021, around Christmas – when Omicron converged in the US. Holiday travel, family gatherings, shopping, and the shift to socializing indoors, all combined with a more contagious COVID variant.

Juneteenth Celebration on East 111st Street

(between Lex/3rd)

Langston Hughes and Brian Benjamin

I was struck by where former Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin chose to announce he was withdrawing his name from the ballot in the upcoming election. He made the announcement through a video he posted on Twitter near the spot where Arnold Newman photographed Langston Hughes in 1960.

This location (overlooking 5th Avenue) was also featured in the classic Harlem film, The Cool World:

Union Settlement House Presents: East Harlem Nights

A fun evening with food, drink, entertainment, and El Barrio welcoming all.

Friday June 10th, 6-9:00 PM

Manhattan’s Safe Disposal – Saturday, June 5th

Get rid of your dangerous/toxic/electronic stuff


With Ida in many residents’ minds, it’s useful to look at the latest maps of predicted flooding if another hurricane hits NYC.

New York City is facing multiple climate hazards that will impact daily life in the City in the future. Coastal storms, heat waves, sea level rise impacts, and extreme rain will strain our infrastructure and put New York City’s homes and businesses at risk. As climate change continues, these impacts are predicted to worsen in the coming decades.

The Stormwater Resiliency Plan and associated rainfall maps (beta) are the first City-wide analysis of how extreme rainfall will impact New Yorkers now and into the coming decades. The Plan also establishes key goals and initiatives for the next 10 years to ensure future investments made by City agencies consider and address impacts on rain-driven flooding vulnerability. The Plan and maps will be updated at minimum every four years. Read the Stormwater Resiliency Plan here: nyc.gov/resiliency

The maps focus on rain because it is by far the most common cause of precipitation-based flooding in NYC (as compared to other forms of precipitation, such as snow or sleet). Flooding caused by rainfall is more difficult to map than flooding from coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy. Unlike coastal flooding caused by hurricanes and Nor’easters, rainfall-based flooding can be caused by isolated storms in both waterfront and inland areas. Some may remember the heavy rains that fell in July of 2019. At the peak of the storm, the City’s weather stations recorded rates of almost five inches of rain per hour in central and northern Brooklyn. This resulted in flooding deeper than one foot in several locations across the City. By the 2080s, we know that extreme rain events are predicted to become 1.5 times more likely than today, and sea level will continue to rise by as much as 6 feet. Many of our sewers end up draining at or near coastal waters. As sea level rises, our sewer system cannot drain properly. On top of these stressors, NYC is similar to other cities in the US in that it is working with a sewer network first constructed decades ago, when we did not expect this amount and intensity of rainfall. By publishing this Plan and maps, the City is working to prepare for a future where extreme storms are more common.

The first map (below) shows what a moderate rainfall’s impact is predicted to be (darker blue meaning flooding more than 1 foot in the neighborhood:

The second map (below) shows what an intense rainfall event is likely to cause.

Again, dark blue indicates you can expect 1 foot or more of water on the street, and in houses and businesses:

You can read NYC’s full report on Floodwater here:


The full, interactive map, is here:


Stellar Harlem Restaurants

Eater has a map and listing of a number of stellar restaurants in Harlem and East Harlem:


Student Film Screening

The 4TH ANNUAL NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL FILM FESTIVAL featuring films by student filmmakers will be held this SATURDAY MAY 21 830PM at the 135th Street Plaza and the James Baldwin Lawn.

Bring your blankets & snacks for a beautiful evening with us – the weather looks amazing.  

Uncovering the History of Astor Row

(& Other Buildings Worth Preserving)

Take a stroll with Save Harlem Now! to learn about the history of Astor Row and additional Harlem structures that deserve individual landmark status.Our tour starts at Astor Row, with a cautionary tale of how the landmarking of an important building could not prevent its being torn down.SHN! board member Roberta Washington, the original architect for the Astor Row porch restoration projects and a previous NYC Landmarks Preservation Commissioner, will be our guide.Date: Sunday, May 22, 1-3 p.m.Details: Attendance will be capped at 15 participants in order to keep the group small and leave time for discussion. Because tours bring attendees in close proximity to each other, we ask that all attendees wear their mask regardless of vaccination status.
ABOUT ASTOR ROWIn 1981, twenty-eight paired brick townhouses with wooden porches on West 130th Street were designated as individual landmarks by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Built by William Backhouse Astor, Jr., between 1880-1883, most porches and some buildings were re­stored starting in 1992 with initial funds donated by Brooke Astor in an effort led by the Land­marks Conservancy in association with the Abyssinian Development Corporation.The Harlem community welcomed the repair and restoration of this group of unique individual landmarks — which is why the community which has also encouraged landmarking of more buildings in Harlem was shocked to wake up to the news that one of the Astor Row homes had been demol­ished. The demolition has raised questions including: What construction controls are there on sites which once contained an individual landmark? (Hint: fewer that you think.) Is there a way to prevent such tear-downs in the fu­ture?On this tour, see Astor Row and other buildings proposed by SHN! as individual landmarks.
Tickets are free, with optional donations accepted to support ongoing SHN! preservation work.

1950 Census, Released

On April 1st, the 1950 US Census was released to the world. US law only releases the detailed/full census details 72 years after the census year. Thus 2022 is the year for the 1950’s census full debut.

If you want to find detailed information about relatives or others, you can start here at this site:


Because the hand-written census sheets have not been transcribed, there is no easy search (yet). You can begin by using the census search page: https://1950census.archives.gov/search/ with these suggestions/parameters:

In my case, I was not interested in people, but rather the building where I live. To start I focused on New York County within New York state:


And clicked on one of the “ED Maps” (Enumeration District Maps) links;

and saw that map P2 showed Harlem:

By zooming in you can find the book you’re looking for:’

Unfortunately, when I finally managed to find the book/sheet I was looking for I got this:

No one had been at home when the census taker had tried to get information. Fortunately, there was a “See Sheet…” that I could then use to find out what was learned in a follow-up visit from a census worker. Sure enough, on an “Out of Order” sheet:

I was able to find out information based on the following headings/questions:

And here’s what I found:

  • 11 people lived in this building, 9 of which were listed as Lodgers
  • 6 men, 5 women (no children – the youngest was 25 years old)
  • 2 people are listed as “White” (one of whom was Italian) and 9 are listed as “Negro”
  • the majority came from the south (South Carolina, Texas, Virginia) while two were born in New York
  • professionally they were dress operators, porters, tailor shop workers, waiters in restaurants and night clubs, hospital attendants, and post office clerks

121st Street Health Fair

All Welcome! June 4th.

Tell The MTA What You Think About the M35 Bus


Dear MTA Bus Customer,

Your input is valuable as my team and I work to improve the customer experience on board buses. The results will help inform decision making and improve service.

This survey should take about five minutes of your valuable time. It will remain open until Tuesday, May 24. Customers who complete our survey will be entered into a drawing to have lunch with me so I can hear your concerns firsthand.

Thank you,
Richard Davey
New York City Transit President

No Conscription!

In the early years of World War 1, leftists in the US tried to keep the United States out of the war in Europe. Over a 100 years ago, a rally was held in the Harlem Casino – between 1st and 2nd Avenues and 126 and 127th Streets.

This location, where the abandoned MTA bus depot is, hosted noted leftist Emma Goldman, whose offices (where she was arrested and forcibly deported from) was located on East 125th Street, near the current site of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

See more on the casino, here:


Coffee With Your Congressman

Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) will be hosting a series of meet and greet opportunities for constituents across the district. 

Joined by Councilwoman Carmen De La RosaRep. Espaillat is holding these informal events to allow residents to discuss their concerns and share ideas on how to make improvements throughout New York’s 13th congressional district.

Upcoming Dates:

* May 14th:  Northend Restaurant, 4300 Broadway, Washington Heights (across 34Pct.)

* May 21th:  Buunni Coffee, 213 Pinehurst Ave, New York, NY 10033 (187th Street)

* May  28th: Taszo Coffee, 5 Edward M Morgan Pl, New York, NY 10032 (157th Street)

* June 18th:  Bunnii Coffee, 4961 Broadway, New York, NY 10034

* June 25th: Lido Café, 2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd (117th Street)
All events are public and residents are required to RSVP prior to attendance by emailing [email protected] or calling 212-497-5959.


Chipotle on 116 Street East

Plans are underway to protest a Chipotle at 116/Lexington at the CB11 Community Board


MMPCIA Meeting Tonight

MMPCIA Meeting Tonight at 6:00

Here’s the Zoom link:


Redistricting NYC’s City Council

With state and congressional redistricting dominating the headlines, we want to make you are also informed about the council redistricting process, which is currently underway. 
You are invited (on May 17th at 7pm on Zoom) to a presentation and training on council redistricting. The training will last 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions. You can register for the training here.
 The training will include:

The basics of Council redistricting.
Why engaging in the Council redistricting process is important.
An overview of the process and the criteria used to draw the maps.
How to look at and create your own maps.
How to testify before the Council’s Districting Commission.
The essential elements of an effective testimony.

Considering the impact of new district boundaries, we welcome you to get involved and make your voice heard. See more information about our work at CitizensUnion.org/NYCRedistricting
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email [email protected]

Who’s Going To Represent You/Harlem In Albany?

The New York State Assembly primaries are coming up, and in this town (and this neighborhood), whoever wins the primaries will likely be your representative in Albany.

Click on this map to see a larger view:

If you’re in the above map, then click on this link to register for the candidates’ forum on Thursday, June 2nd at 7:00 PM:


If you live in the 68th district (shown on the map below – click on it to see a larger view):

Then you are invited to register/attend the 68th District Candidate’s forum that will be held on Thursday, June 9th at 7:00 PM. Here’s the link:


Interview Opportunity – $75 compensation

Black, Hispanic, and Latino/a parents asked to participate in a study about their perspectives on childhood vaccination for COVID-19

A team at the City University of New York (CUNY) seeks to learn from Black, Hispanic, and Latino/a parents about their perspectives on childhood vaccination for COVID-19. If you are a parent in the New York City area of a child between 5-11 years old who is not vaccinated for COVID-19, you may be eligible to participate in a one-time 45-minute to 1-hour interview via Zoom. Interviews are confidential and take place at a time that is convenient for you. Participants who complete an interview will be compensated with a $75 online gift card after the interview.

If you are a parent with a child in that age group, we hope you will consider participating. To find out if you are eligible, please click on the following link:  https://cunysph.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8HNlDMT6SeCD6xE

Today at 2:00 at Harlem Rose Garden

Harlem Wall.JPGArticulation-Dream Mother .jpegHRG 2.JPG
Baby Doll
One woman’s struggle with domestic violence
Written by Cesi Davidson
Directed by Jeannine Foster-McKelvia
Featuring Deidre Monique Benton
Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul in association with the Harlem Rose Garden invites you to a play reading followed by a brief community conversation about domestic violence. There will be a book signing by the author at the conclusion of the event.
Harlem Rose Garden
6 East 129th St. (Between 5th and Madison Avenues) Harlem, NYC
(Rain Date-May 22, 2022)
Free and open to the public
We thank our community partners: Articulation NY LLC, ART MOVEZ, Ideacoil, Jacob Restaurant, Juicery-Harlem, Lrg Enterprises, Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center, WARM, and Wines by Mozel. We Need Safe Homes Now Domestic Violence doesn’t discriminate.
At least one in four women has been a victim of sexual violence. The street art presented on this flyer was displayed on 5th Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets. Throughout Harlem, we’ve mourned the deaths of women killed by senseless violence. We grieve for all of the recently slain women including:
Akemi Houssai Balde
Brittani Nicole Duffy
B’Jana James
Anna Nieves
Flora Elasia Recio Noble
Jennifer Schlecht
Nisaa Walcott
Shanice L. Young